Take in one of the largest holiday displays in San Francisco including the 83-foot tree at the center of Union Square. Decorated with more than 43,000 twinkling energy-efficient LED lights and 700 shining ornaments. The tree goes up every year and is usually lit for the first time on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Union Square San Francisco Christmas Tree with Macy's holidays windows in background
Union Square San Francisco Christmas Tree with Macy's holidays windows in background

The ice rink in Union Square adjacent to the giant tree offers fun-seekers of all ages a magical adventure surrounded by festive lights and the sights and sounds of the season. 

The windows of Macys, Neiman Marcus and many other surrounding stores are adorned with festive decorations. Some of the Macy's window displays features cuddly, adoptable kittens and puppies from the SPCA.

Union Square San Francisco Ice Skating Rink
Union Square San Francisco Ice Skating Rink
Union Square San Francisco Ice Skating Rink

Ice Skating: Skate beneath beautiful holiday lights at Union Square from November to mid-January of every year! The atmosphere is light, happy, and full of holiday excitement. Skating sessions last for 90 minutes. Rent skates or bring your own. Order tickets online to bypass the long line, or buy at the ticket booth when you arrive.

A holiday tradition, ice skating in Union Square promises to bring a smile to everyone’s face and delight you and your skating partners – big and small, young and old.

Festive, fun ice skating in Union Square runs from November 6, 2019, until January 20, 2020.

Info and Tickets - https://unionsquareicerink.com/

Visit Union Square, San Francisco’s #1 shopping destination!

The Square is home to hundreds of retail stores, restaurants, hotels, theatres, boutiques, and more! Palm trees, manicured hedges, and spacious seating options create an open space in the midst of bustling activity. Visit for a day of shopping, to attend a free event, or to take in the sights.

San Francisco's Union Square - Left my Heart in San Francisco sculpture
San Francisco's Union Square - Left my Heart in San Francisco sculpture
San Francisco's Union Square - Left my Heart in San Francisco sculpture Photo: Pierre André Leclercq [CC BY-SA 4.0]

History

Union Square gained its name from the pro-Union rallies held there in the years before the Civil War. The nickname stuck, enduring through the area’s transformation from a residential neighborhood and plaza to a premier shopping district after the earthquake of 1906.

One notable feature of Union Square is the 95-foot granite column, topped by Lady Victory triumphantly brandishing a trident in one hand and a wreath in the other. The monument was built in 1903 to honor Admiral Dewey’s 1898 victory against the Spanish Navy.

The Heart Sculpture in Union Square is one of several in the city and the first of numerous Hearts throughout the Bay Area. Signed and transformed by local artists, the hearts are installed in cities that are known for their acceptance and tolerance. The “Hearts in San Francisco” project benefits the San Francisco General Hospital.

Union Square in San Francisco
Union Square in San Francisco

Today

Today, Union Square is an open and welcoming plaza lined with palm trees, sculpted bushes, terraces, and a café. Union Square is most famous for its shopping. With over five hundred retail stores, high-end jewelers, electronics stores, trendy boutiques, and restaurants, Union Square draws tourists from all over the world. Stop by Gucci, Burberry, or Chanel for a taste of name-brand luxury. Enjoy the view of Union Square from the top floor of Macy’s at the Cheesecake Factory, or try Boudin’s Sourdough Café for an authentic San Francisco restaurant.

In addition to visiting Union Square to shop, locals and tourists come to relax, people-watch, and to enjoy the numerous free events held in Union Square. The Union Square Summer Salsa Concert Series is a free annual music concert that occurs every June. Other free or low-cost series include free Tango and Swing lessons, in addition to free rock and blues concerts. Be sure to check at unionsquarelive.org for event updates.

Nearby Points of Interest

Cable Cars: Enjoy soaring hilltop views of San Francisco from the seat of a classic cable car! In operation for more than 150 years, these iconic gold and red cable cars are a must-see for every visitor. Catch the cable car at Powell and Market to Fisherman’s Wharf!

Alamo Square/Painted Ladies: Pose for pictures against the backdrop of the San Francisco skyline and the Painted Ladies! Featured in the opening credits of the TV series Full House, the Painted Ladies consist of five beautiful Victorian homes facing Alamo Square. The square offers .5 square miles of open space for a picnic, a nap, or a variety of other activities.

Chinatown: Located three blocks away from Union Square, Chinatown is one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions! Drawing more visitors yearly than the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown offers fascinating novelty items, cheap and delicious Chinese food, and a variety of cultural attractions that illustrate the uniqueness of San Francisco’s Chinese community.

Union Square Christmas Tree, Ice Skating Rink and more is featured on:

  • Private Charter
    Holiday Lights & Sites Lucky Tuk Tuk Private Charter in San Francisco

    Available Nov 29 until Dec 30th - Nightly

    7:30 pm

    How long?
    Approx. 2 hours
    When?
    Nov 29 until Dec 30th - Nightly
    Do we fit?
    Seats up to 6 (Ages 3+)
    How much?
    From $410.00

    Celebrate the season in your own Tuk Tuk charter! Our 2 or 2.5 hour San Francisco Holiday Lights charters include yummy hot chocolate, candy canes, fuzzy Santa hats and plenty of sing-along holiday karaoke tunes.

  • Public Tour
    Holiday Lights & Sites Lucky Tuk Tuk Tour in San Francisco

    Available Nov 29 until Dec 30th - Nightly

    7:30 pm

    How long?
    Approx. 2 hours
    When?
    Nov 29 until Dec 30th - Nightly
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Ages 5+)
    How much?
    From $75.00

    Celebrate the season in a Tuk Tuk! Our 2-hour San Francisco Holiday Lights outings include yummy hot chocolate, candy canes, fuzzy Santa hats and plenty of sing-along holiday karaoke tunes on board.